I love novels, I do. I usually read four or five books at a time as well as listen to audio books on my commute to and from work and there is always, always one or two novels in the mix somewhere. Right now I’m reading So Long and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams, which is the fourth book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. That will make sense to fans of the series.
As much as I love novels though, most of them, I freely admit, are brain candy. There’s no real substance, nothing that nourishes my spirit or helps to shape my faith, or encourages me in the process of sanctification. There is nothing wrong or sinful about them, but one cannot truly nourish his or her soul on novels all the time anymore than one can nourish his or her body on candy all the time no matter how much we might like to give it a try.
That being said, I would like to recommend, in no particular order, the Top Five Books Every Christian Should Read. None of these books can nor should replace the careful and consistent reading, study and application of Scripture, they are only offered here because I believe you will find them to be truly helpful in your desire to know and become more like Jesus.
(Note: each title contains a link to Amazon for that book.)
1. Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper
I just finished this one myself and it is going on the list of books I read at least every other year. Piper’s intense and life-long passion for God and His glory is contagious. You will find yourself challenged, convicted and driven to praise, and repentance as you read this powerful book. Follow this link for a free PDF of the book provided by Desiring God Ministries.
2. The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
Anything Tozer wrote is powerful and life-altering, but this slim volume is far and away the most powerful of them all. I am particularly fond of this book because God used it to bring me to faith in Christ on April 19, 1992. I have re-read the book every other year since then and never fail to find something challenging in it with each reading.
3. Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Packer is a theologian’s theologian and yet his writing is very accessible to anyone and everyone regardless of your theological education. Knowing God is a MUST-READ for any believer who wants to grow in his or her understanding of our great and glorious Lord.
4. Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson
Peterson knows how to pack more depth and meaning in his pages than any other writer I have ever read before. Every paragraph is a gourmet meal for the soul. This particular book is the second in his conversational theology series and is about gaining more from your reading of Scripture. It is powerful stuff and once you read it you will experience a hunger for God and His Word like never before.
5. Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders
This is the best book on leadership I have ever had the joy to read and believe me it is no exaggeration to say that I have read dozens and dozens of books on the topic. The thing that makes Sander’s book so powerful is that every thesis, every point, every bit of advice, comes directly from Scripture. You won’t find any pithy stories or the opinions of the best CEO’s or military leaders here, only the careful application of the Word of God. That fact alone makes it worth the read and makes it stand out among the pantheon of other books on the topic.
What about you? What books have helped to shape and encourage your faith that you would recommend to the rest of us?